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Novartis Suspends Production of Interceptor, Sentinel, Program, Clomicalm and Deramaxx

novartis-animal-healthOver the past month Novartis closed an important manufacturing plant in Lincoln, Nebraska in response to consumer complaints it has received regarding a number of its leading human consumer medications.  The FDA issued a highly critical report of that plant (see here) after an inspection in June of last year.  On January 8th, Novartis announced in a press release that it was voluntarily recalling a number of its leading human products produced at the plant including Excedrin, NoDoz, Bufferin and Gas-X while it strengthens quality standards. On January 5th, Novartis sent a letter to veterinarians informing them that it was suspending production and shipments of the following Novartis Animal Health (NAH) brands including Interceptor Flavor Tabs, Sentinel Flavor Tabs, Clomicalm, Program Tablets and Suspension, and Milbemite. The letter also noted that production of Deramaxx which was just recently moved to the Lincoln plant will also be affected although the company will continue to ship that product from existing inventory.

The production suspension is leaving pet owners looking for these products subject to the inventory on hand with their local veterinarian and with discount suppliers such as VetDepot.com As those supplies are exhausted, veterinarians will be obligated to prescribe competing substitutes such as Heartgard, Trifexis, Advantage Multi, and Rimadyl. After learning about the situation, some consumers are asking for alternatives even when stocks are on hand.  Novartis has not given an indication of when production might resume however they have stated that the recent actions were coordinated with the involvement of health authorities.  With the FDA’s involvement, there is the possibility that the closure could be lengthy if it reaches the level of problems recently experienced at facilities owned by Johnson & Johnson, Genzyme, and Hospira.

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{ 43 comments… add one }
  • Sharon wright January 23, 2012, 6:12 am

    I am upset about this as I use Interceptor for my 2 dogs. My vet suggested that I use Sentinel for possible better control of fleas.
    he also advised to use Comfortis along with Sentinel.
    hope this is a short temporary issue.

    • chrissy January 25, 2012, 2:33 am

      What I use for fleas is a dash of garlic powder on my dog’s food per feeding and I have been doing this for 13yrs and I have not had a flea ever. I have 7 dogs ranging in size of small to large Great Danes.
      Now I only use a sprinkle not alot. never use a garlic clove as that can hurt them but just a sprinkle and no they do not get garlic breath.
      What the garlic does is repels the flea when it tries to bite the animal. The animal’s skin tastes so bad the flea leaves and never returns.
      I do not use chemicals as that can kill even a cat by putting it on the shoulders as cats lick them selves to groom so I go natural and garlic works.
      So try the garlic instead and by a cheap brand and remember just a sprinkle not alot and use it every meal, this works for cats as well. Good luck

      • Richelle January 23, 2013, 7:10 am

        Garlic is toxic for dogs. I am a veterinary assistant (attending school for veterinary technician), and suggest that you consult with your veterinarian to find an alternative preventative for fleas and internal parasites.

  • Samantha January 27, 2012, 8:00 am

    Regarding the deramaxx I am getting conflicting reports. Can someone clarify if they are suspending the deramaxx?

  • Lucinda January 31, 2012, 3:15 pm

    Just a heads up, after talking with both of my vets; Dallas and Houston, TX, I was informed that there are three alternatives that they are offering in place of the Interceptor; Heartgard, Ivahart, and Trifexis (which is a triple medication including the medication in Comfortis for fleas). Apparently all vets are stocking up on these medications as alternatives.

    Some breads have issues with Heartgard and Ivahart is a generic of Heartgard; so be aware. Animals that cannot take Comfortis flea medication will not be able to take the Trifexis. Also, make sure to ask about any flavoring in the chewable tabs if your pup has any allergies to beef, chicken, etc. I know Trifexis is made with pork flavoring.

    According to the vets I have discussed this with, they are being told that it is an undetermined reopening date for this factory.

    Hope this helps and good luck finding what you need.

  • NancyA February 3, 2012, 7:54 am

    I am wondering if we are looking at this closing as we should. I ask not where will I get this product during the plant closing, rather is the supply I already have of these drugs safe for my dogs?? The FDA does not take the closing of a plant lightly, generally there are several warnings of potential dangers to products prior to closing a plant that go uncorrected. If the contamination of a human product was not taken seriously what can you conclude about the efficacy of their animal products. I am particularly concerned about product contamination named in the complaint from the FDA. Has any agency investigated the purity of the animal products?

  • Korbens Mom February 5, 2012, 8:42 am

    My Sheltie cannot take Heartgard or any other heartworm med using seizures in shelties and collies. As a result I have NO HEARTWORM medications for my dog.
    Why they discontinued the old daily heartworm medication is a mystery to me.
    Does anyone have any other method to prevent heartworm using natural ingredients?

    • Heidi March 3, 2012, 10:27 pm

      I am in the same boat with you. We have 6 shelties and one has a kidney filtering problem and eats special food. My vet say Trifexis but I am leary of it. A side affect is vomiting within an hour and if it happens, you should redose. But what if it happens again every month? Don’t know what to use, have used Interceptor since they started selling it.

  • Mildly irritated February 7, 2012, 6:10 am

    Korbens mom, if your sheltie can take comfortis for fleas without problems, you could try Trifexis. It is a combination of flea/heartworm preventative. It has the same heartworm preventative as interceptor in it.

  • nicole February 10, 2012, 11:10 am

    My dog mikie started running again on dermaxx I don’t know what we r going to do

    • Bridgette March 2, 2012, 7:19 am

      I just got off the phone with the vet – we’ll do 5 days off Deramaxx before switching to Previcox, during those days we’re treating his pain/inflammation with Tramadol and then switch to the Previcox. Hopefully in 6 months we can go back to Deramaxx… I was comfortable with that. Maybe I’ll get comfortable with the Previcox after 40 hours of googling it….

      • Eileen January 29, 2013, 7:39 pm

        Is your dog doing well on Previcox? Were there any complications? When the Deramaxx shortage began, my vet also recommended Previcox. Like you, I spent days reading, researching and talking to vet tech friends. Some of the things I read scared me …. but I also probably had similar thoughts when we started Deramaxx. I would switch him, if that was my only option. I haven’t, but only because my vet and I (between the 2 of us) have been able to gather enough Deramaxx until now (Jan 2013). I hope your dog has done well, and want to know what your experience has been.

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  • Dayna April 20, 2012, 7:29 pm

    My vet switched my 13 year old dog from rimadyl to deramaxx. She was doing real good on it and now can’t get it anywhere. They now switched to previcox and it doesn’t work for her at all. I wish they would start up again.

    • Ana December 27, 2012, 10:03 am

      Hi Dayna,

      How is your 13 yr old doing on Rimadyl?

  • Jenia April 30, 2012, 7:57 am

    My dog takes Interceptor every day for the control of adult onset generalized demodex. This is the last resort drug for her as the dips and ivermectin that work in many cases did not work for her. I have a 2 month supply, but after that I don’t know what I am going to do.

  • Vicki April 30, 2012, 11:42 am

    Does anyone know if Novartis has resumed the production of Deramaxx yet??? We switched to Rimadyl for our 90 pound lab and it’s like she’s not getting anything. Does anyone know of a better alternative for knee problems?

    • Ana December 27, 2012, 10:03 am

      Yes, Deramaxx is coming back. Call Novartis CR.

  • Samantha May 23, 2012, 4:04 pm

    I have a 15.5 yo golden that has done really well on Deramaxx. I am extremely disappointed. Anyone have experience with any of the others yet?

  • Dianne June 22, 2012, 11:47 pm

    Are there any updates since March when dermaxx will be back?

    • VetDepot June 25, 2012, 8:08 am

      Novartis has not communicated any updates that we are aware of.

  • Lisa Kinsey September 29, 2012, 9:52 am

    Out of desperation and not wanting to put my two 7 yr old Lhasa’s on a new heartworm pill (they’ve been on interceptor since pups), I bought Interceptor on amazon.com. (I’ve ALWAYS bought from my Vet but I was desperate)! 🙁 The seller assured me these were safe per the Novartis plant recalls etc. I’ve received the pills and the lot number and exp date are clearly on the box and pill container. I’m still anxious to give to my dogs though and they’re due for their monthly dose! I can’t find any info on lot numbers and exp dates of affected Interceptor tabs?! The lot # is: 10124403, exp date: 9/14. Can anyone advise me? Thank-you!!

    • paula March 1, 2013, 5:34 pm

      I used all my interceptor that I had and now ran out.
      Have to try something else now. with spring coming the mosquitoes will be coming out.

  • Martha L. Potak October 8, 2012, 12:34 pm

    Where do we stand with Inceptor being placed back on the market for my Shelties – has the problem been resolved and able for shippment to Veterinary Hospitals? Also, I want to ensure it is SAFE and has been TESTED….Please advise. Martha Potak

    • VetDepot November 20, 2012, 12:24 pm

      Hi Martha. The last update we got from a company representative was that Novartis will probably resume distribution after the first of the year. Please feel free to check back with our customer service department at 1-800-710-9770.

  • Paula October 8, 2012, 12:48 pm

    My 10 year old Boxer was doing great on Deramaxx. Rimadyl doesn’t do anything for her. The post states deramaxx will be coming back. When, she can barely walk without this medication. recently started her on prevocix. She did so well on the deramaxx- any update on time frame for the release

    • VetDepot November 20, 2012, 1:55 pm

      Hi Paula, sorry for the delay in responding. The last update we got from a company representative was that Novartis will probably resume distribution after the first of the year. Please feel free to check back with our customer service department at 1-800-710-9770.

  • M B January 22, 2013, 4:45 pm

    Novartis has forever lost me as a customer due to their total mismanagement of this issue. I will find alternatives from more trustworthy companies.

    • Katie March 21, 2017, 12:39 am

      Deramaxx didn’t seem to help my dog. After taking ten pills, she died a horrible death.

  • kelly April 2, 2013, 6:55 am

    When will Interceptor be available? I don’t need flea meds, just heartworm preventative. My Great Dane is almost 10 years old. I had enough Interceptor to get through last summer, but will need some for this summer and don’t want to give her unnecessary medication at her age. I attribute her age to the most minimal vaccines imaginable, raw, natural feeding and very minimal meds, but do use Interceptor in the summer. I cannot and will not change her now. My danes have never done well with Heartgard. It has always made them sick, but they do fine with Interceptor.

    • VetDepot April 3, 2013, 3:21 pm

      Hi Kelly. Unfortunately, we still don’t have an update from Novartis regarding Interceptor.

  • Carolyn June 16, 2013, 11:52 pm

    I gave my dog heartgard three days ago and now is very sick,throwing up and the runs she is a Jack Russell.Same happen a month ago to my large dog. Please get Interceptor back on the market.

    • VetDepot June 17, 2013, 8:49 am

      Hi Carolyn. Novartis has discontinued Interceptor. Please check with your veterinarian regarding any questions or concerns you have about Heartgard.

  • Wendy August 20, 2013, 8:26 am

    Any updates on interceptor. I have a 3 year old collie who is very sensitive, and was told by the breeder to wait until interceptor is back on the market. So, with the vets approval, he has noy been on any heart worm med for about a year. I just can’t take the chance until interceptor returns. Any word?

  • joyce December 22, 2013, 8:33 am

    I have a question for anyone who has had a dog with bladder stones that have developed. We just lost our 3 year old Papillon from complications from an operation to remove bladder stones. The only thing we have changed in the past few months is her heartworm meds to Interceptor tabs.

  • Amanda April 8, 2016, 3:40 am

    For those of you using deramaxx for arthritis, there is a safe product that works. Springtime Inc. Has a product called j- flex concentrate. I have used this for 20 years on my dogs and horses. It gave me results that seemed miraculous. It is a synovial replacement for joints. Same ingredients that is all the rage for people now in stores. I have a mare who’s legs creaked with every step. After three weeks on j flex, she never did it again
    an I rode her for 10 years after that. I also had a cairn terrier that had arthritis so bad she couldn’t go down a 9 inch step. After a few weeks she was running like a puppy. This company also makes natural flea stuff. Also , be carefully of rimidyl. It killed my dog. Kidney failure. There was a class action against them.

    • VetDepot April 8, 2016, 2:50 pm

      Oh wow, I know that rimidyl was phased out in general because it’s a controlled substance isn’t it? We used to sell it, but we haven’t for a very long time because of that. Sorry about your dog, that’s awful that a medication harmed them in such a way. 🙁 What happened in the class action lawsuit?

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